I think it is reasonably fair to say that this year’s renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is not a vintage one. Is there a Douvan, Altior or Vautour in this field? I doubt it to be blunt. Of course this has been an extremely odd season. The absence of rain has made it challenging for trainers and the flu outbreak came at a bad time in some horses preparations, like Angels Breath. Personally I feel there is value to be had in the market and I would be opposed to the horses at the front of the betting. Aramon is my selection in the race and he looks seriously underrated. He was very impressive at Christmas when he bolted up in a Grade 1 around Leopardstown. Ruby Walsh rode him quietly at the back of the field and I thought he gave Aramon a brilliant ride. The horse travelled so sweetly off the strong pace and showed a terrific turn off pace to scoot clear. It was probably the most impressive visual performance by any 2m novice hurdler so far this season. As we know Aramon was narrowly beaten by Klassical Dream in his next start at the Dublin Racing Festival. However I took a lot of positives from the race. He travelled smoothly, jumped well and showed a tenacious attitude. This is a bold statement but he reminds me a lot of Hurricane Fly in terms of attitude. Aramon is a horse that will really relish the Cheltenham hill I suspect. The ferocious pace of the Supreme will also suit him. I hope Aramon will be settled towards the rear of the field and be allowed to relax and settle. Klassical Dream appears to be heading for the Ballymore now based on trends in the markets and comments from the Cheltenham preview circuit. It is also wonderful for the Supreme Horse Racing Syndicate to be going to Cheltenham with two massive chances in Aramon for the Supreme and Kemboy for the Gold Cup. I love when syndicates win big races and put it up to the big owners in racing. As racing fans we naturally have a soft spot for the underdog. Aramon is a general 10/1 which seems more than fair. On the day he could be a bit shorter as the so called ‘each way scumbags’ have their fun.
Al Dancer is the favourite and looks a rotten price to me at 3/1. There’s a reason he wears headgear and it’s not to keep him warm. Furthermore, winners of the Betfair Hurdle have an atrocious record in the Supreme. Al Dancer is talented but is not one that floats my boat at all. Neither do I like Angels Breath. The form of his Ascot win hasn’t worked out great and his performance at Kempton would not instil any great confidence in me. Lots of pundits have come out in support of the horse and Tom Segal even thinks he enhanced his Supreme chances at Kempton. I am not sure how getting turned over by Southfield Stone is exactly brilliant form. Southfield Stone is a nice horse but would not be sighted in a Supreme. Angels Breath has been attracting support and is now into 5/1. In my opinion that’s a ludicrous price and he is probably the worst priced horse of the festival. I am really struggling to comprehend the confidence behind him. Elixir De Nutz is a fine consistent horse and his form looks strong. I would not put anyone off having a few quid off him. Mister Fisher is a horse that seems to have a huge reputation in the Henderson yard and Nicky clearly loves him. He has really developed physically of late and looks to be a horse with plenty of improvement in him. It would not surprise me if in time he was the best horse to come out of the race. We may have to wait for him to realise his full potential in my opinion. Grand Sancy has a load of experience, but might just lack the necessary class. Fakir Doudairies is second favourite but might not even run. To be honest he would have a better chance in the Triumph and needs plenty cut in the ground it would appear. It is harder than other years to have a strong opinion in the Supreme, but Aramon does appear to have quite a decent chance. We all want to get our Cheltenham off to a flying start and dream of winning big. I cannot wait for the roar and the action to get underway now.